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MotoGP Qatar: Dovizioso edges Rossi in first 2018 practice session

Andrea Dovizioso Ducati MotoGP Qatar 2018

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso set the pace in the opening practice session of the 2018 MotoGP season in Qatar, beating Valentino Rossi by just 0.061 seconds.

Continuing his impressive form from the third and final pre-season test at the Losail circuit, Dovizioso retook top spot with three minutes remaining of a first session held in daylight hours.

He set a best time of 1m55.366s to oust Rossi from first by four tenths after the factory Yamaha rider had displaced Dovizioso moments earlier.

While Rossi improved in the dying stages, his 1m55.427s effort left him just over half a tenth shy.

A last-minute improvement for reigning champion Marc Marquez put the Honda rider third, 0.316s behind his 2017 title adversary Dovizioso, with Andrea Iannone making it four different manufacturers in the top four on the best of the Suzukis.

Jorge Lorenzo led the way in the opening stages on the second works Ducati but ended up fifth, a little more than half a second behind team-mate Dovizioso.

Johann Zarco Tech3 MotoGP Qatar 2018

Best of the privateers was Johann Zarco on his 2016-spec Tech3 Yamaha, ahead of LCR Honda man Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins on the second Suzuki.

A pair of Ducati satellite riders, Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) and Avintia's Tito Rabat completed the top 10.

Maverick Vinales was 0.764s adrift on the second of the factory Yamahas in 11th, one place ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the second works Honda.

Aleix Espargaro was 13th fastest with his Aprilia now equipped with the latest-spec of engine that had been due to come on stream in Qatar testing before being delayed.

Hafizh Syahrin, Tech3's late signing for the 2018 season, was top rookie in 15th.

KTM's charge was led by Pol Espargaro in 17th, the Spaniard joining Thomas Luthi and Alvaro Bautista in crashing during the opening session.

FP1 times

1Andrea DoviziosoDucati1m55.366s-14
2Valentino RossiYamaha1m55.427s0.061s18
3Marc MarquezHonda1m55.743s0.377s18
4Andrea IannoneSuzuki1m55.816s0.450s17
5Jorge LorenzoDucati1m55.888s0.522s16
6Johann ZarcoYamaha1m55.943s0.577s16
7Cal CrutchlowHonda1m55.989s0.623s16
8Alex RinsSuzuki1m55.997s0.631s17
9Danilo PetrucciDucati1m56.076s0.710s16
10Tito RabatDucati1m56.111s0.745s17
11Maverick VinalesYamaha1m56.130s0.764s19
12Dani PedrosaHonda1m56.265s0.899s17
13Aleix EspargaroAprilia1m56.313s0.947s14
14Alvaro BautistaDucati1m56.528s1.162s14
15Hafizh SyahrinYamaha1m56.544s1.178s17
16Jack MillerDucati1m56.680s1.314s17
17Pol EspargaroKTM1m56.999s1.633s16
18Scott ReddingAprilia1m57.115s1.749s15
19Takaaki NakagamiHonda1m57.183s1.817s18
20Thomas LuthiHonda1m57.211s1.845s14
21Franco MorbidelliHonda1m57.273s1.907s15
22Bradley SmithKTM1m57.389s2.023s18
23Xavier SimeonDucati1m59.151s3.785s16
24Karel AbrahamDucati1m59.462s4.096s9

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